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Ordinary Shapes and Composition – Art Project with Young Children – S.A. Barone


An Art Project to do With Young Children

Ordinary Shapes and Composition
by S.A. Barone


When I was teaching art this project was one of my favorite to do with young children.  This is a project that parents can do at home with their children when they become bored during vacation time.  It is also a great way for children to give a part of themselves to their favorite grandparents, aunts, or friends at Christmas time.

This project is not only fun but educational as well. It will help children experience the use of ordinary shapes and learn to create a good composition. It will expose them to techniques so they may create an abstract design.

You will need:

Sheets of heavy white drawing paper, approximately 12” x 18”.

Objects to trace, such as hands, rocks, shoes, shapes.  You can pretty much use whatever can be found around the house.  I have used spoons, forks, butter knives, soup cans, cookies, small toys, etc.

A box of crayons, all colors are fine, even white.

Watercolors and large brushes, and a water bucket.

First trace the shapes all over the paper.  Make sure to press hard with the crayons.  Each shape can be traced with different color crayons.  They may overlap onto the other shapes.  Fill your entire paper with shapes.

Next draw lines, patterns and designs into the areas that have been traced.  Do not color in these areas; just draw lines, dots, stripes, whatever patterns you might like.

Using the large paint brushes paint watercolors over the different areas.  The crayon should resist the watercolors and show through the areas you paint.  Continue to paint until all areas are painted.  Choose different colors to paint at random on your design.  You may also paint outside the lines as well.

Let your art work dry and flatten with heavy books.  The art work is now ready for framing.  It can be matted and framed as a gift or just hung on the wall in your room.


As I was doing various art projects with my classes, I liked to expose my students to some of the famous artists in the world.  I liked to let them know the famous artists that liked to create works of art that we were doing in our class.

This project is somewhat like the way Wassily Kandinsky liked to create.   Kandinsky loved lines, shapes and colors. In many of his paintings you can see how he loved lines.  He would draw or paint many different kinds of lines through his paintings.  He loved curved lines, zig zag lines as well as diagonal and parallel lines.  Kandinsky also loved color.  He stated that he thought each color had its own corresponding musical note.  He wrote that “blue is soft and round while yellow is sharp.”  He became one of the first abstract painters in the world.

Until next time, have fun and keep creating!

S. A. Barone

Shirley is a published children’s writer. She has publishing credits in Highlights for Children, Turtle, Children’s Playmate, Humpty Dumpty, and Chicken Soup for the Pre-teen Soul. Shirley  has won a Distinguished Meritorious Service Award from the California School Boards Association for authoring an elective program that was adopted in schools in the Western United States and in areas of New York City. To learn more about Shirley and her art, visit www.sabarone.com

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